The formative years (8 years and below) are the most extraordinary period of growth and development in a child’s lifetime. The foundations of learning are laid during these years. Getting the foundations right carries huge future benefits: better learning in school and higher educational attainment, which result in major social and economic gains for society.
Research shows that good quality early learning and early childhood development programs help reduce the chances of dropout and repetition and improve the outcome at all levels of education.
In 2013, the Government of India adopted the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) policy in recognition of the importance of investing in early childhood development – including early childhood education – and its impact on lifelong development and learning and breaking the intergenerational cycle of inequity. and disadvantages.
A national ECCE curriculum framework and quality standards accompany the policy.
The National Family Health Survey (NFHS) is an important source of data relating to health and well-being. For the first time, the latest NFHS-5 collected and released data on preschool education in India. The NFHS report came out in March this year.
The survey reveals interesting data about preschool education trends. The top performers are southern states, whereas northern states, including Uttar Pradesh, are laggards.
Since India was in the grips of Covid-19 for a large part of the period surveyed, the result is likely to be skewed. Nonetheless, the data does reveal a secular trend: India is investing more and more in children’s education – and at an early age.
Sources: United Nations Children’s Fund India, National Family Health Survey-5